A fond farewell
A loss for the Dallas Arts District: Founding executive director Veletta Lill tostep down
The Dallas Arts District is going stronger than ever, but it's about to lose one of its leaders: Veletta Lill has announced that she will resign from her position as founding executive director of the nonprofit that oversees the 68-acre district, effective November 1.
"I had been thinking about [stepping down] since my mother died in June," Lill says. "It was just kind of a rough year in terms of that."
Lill's tenure as executive director has bookends of sorts. The former Dallas City Council member (1997-2005) came on board in January 2009, taking the lead of the new organization just months before the opening of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. She leaves soon after the debut of Dallas City Performance Hall and directly following the opening of Klyde Warren Park, a fact that also played a part in her decision.
"The opening of the [new] facilities is kind of a turning point," Lill says. "I felt those were seminal moments in the history of the district, and that was why I made this decision. I certainly wanted to be there for those openings."
In a statement, Dallas Arts District acting president and CEO Doug Curtis Curtis praised Lill for her leadership and positive contributions to the city. "Veletta's impact – while on council and in leading the Dallas Arts District – cannot be underestimated," he said. "Through planning, construction and expansion ... she helped keep everyone's eyes on the prize: creating the finest arts district in the nation. Her attention to detail is what makes her an exceptional leader."
Lill is rightly proud of her legacy. "It was really important for us to come together as a neighborhood, and that is something I worked on, to sort of knit together the diverse constituencies of the district — not just the arts institutions, but the churches and the school and the commercial developments," she says. "It's been been an amazing ride and a great time to be here."